Welcome to the official blog of My Owl Software, creator of the excellent Apple Jack games!

Saturday, 28 May 2011

In lieu of any new Apple Jack related announcements (work continues apace), I thought I'd mention this amazing animation, one of the very few perfect things on the planet.

'Hedgehog in the fog' was made in 1975 by Russian animator Yuri Norstein, and concerns the adventures of the titular yozhik as he (I think it's a he) is drawn down into thick fog by the vision of a beautiful white horse. He meets various creatures in the fog; some scary, some mysterious, some helpful.

It only lasts 10 minutes but a lot is packed in, and you suspect that everything has some kind of deeper meaning beyond the simple adventures of a lost hedgehog. But who knows? It's all very Zen.

Norstein has won all sorts of animation awards (HITF has been named the best animated film of all time) and since the eighties has been working on an adaption of Gogol's 'The Overcoat'. But his productivity has shrunk to the point that he is now known as 'The Golden Snail' in his native Russia.

Let's hope that he eventually comes out with something amazing!

Sunday, 15 May 2011

The hardest thing about programming the first Apple Jack was that enemies could be picked up and thrown anywhere, even into parts of the level that no sane designer would think to place them. This meant that I had to spend a lot of time tuning each type of enemy to work everywhere and not get stuck in a corner, or walk through a wall, or escape the play area altogether and crash the game, the little sods.

Now let's add pushable, stackable blocks to the above scenario.

Done that? Now add moving platforms that can ferry the player, the blocks and the enemies around the level in different directions and speeds.

Now add switches that can make the moving blocks suddenly disappear when pushed on by the player, enemy or another block.

And now factor in the fact that I'm a complete idiot who doesn't plan ahead and just adds stuff in willy nilly while adjusting older code in the vain hope of making it all somehow work.

My next game after this is going to be a text adventure or something, I swear.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

As a personal service to my one follower, uramyx, the following screenshot of the forthcoming Apple Jack sequel MAY ONLY BE VIEWED BY HIM.

If you aren't uramyx you must under no circumstances look at this shot of Apple Jack at the seaside, or imagine the clouds slowly drifting across the screen, casting shadows on the water which itself laps at the beach while the blades of the wind turbines revolve:

 Everyone else, move along...

Sunday, 1 May 2011

And hot on the heels of my first post comes this second one, only six months later! Why mister ambassador, with your two posts a year average you are really spoiling us!

My Owl Software is proud to present this first screenshot of what is currently called 'Apple Jack's Great Escape' but may end up being called something else:

 Here we see Jack trying to push some stacked blocks to use as stepping stones to clear a tree stump, while a huge panda stomps towards him in a forest.

While I'm not going to give you a full feature list right now, rest assured that all the moves from the first game will be present and correct, alongside lots of new features. Please look forward to it, as they say in the orient.

Much is left still to do, but I'm currently cracking on with the drawing and soon, after a bit of code-tightening (alright, a lot of code-tightening), I'll be on to designing the levels which is the most enjoyable bit for me.

More screens soon. Au revoir!